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Themes of David Davis MP’s response to yesterday’s statement by Jacqui Smith on ‘Earned Citizenship’:

Citizenship requirements have been too lax: "The Home Secretary now says that she wants to restrict citizenship to those who have earned it. But it was her Government who relaxed the requirements in the first place, when, in 2004, they removed the requirement to provide a passport to support the application. They dropped the standards so far that they awarded citizenship to Muktar Ibrahim after he had spent three years in prison for violent crime, and had been arrested for disseminating extremist literature. He then used his British passport to travel to Pakistan to train as a would-be suicide bomber. At least, I suppose, these new rules—limited and late as they are—would have presumably denied him citizenship. But can the Home Secretary explain how her new system would have stopped Abu Hamza gaining citizenship? He became a citizen through his British wife. Under the new system he might have to wait two years before he became a probationary citizen, then another year if he could demonstrate “active citizenship”. The proposed system would not have stopped him gaining that citizenship."

Tax on new arrivals is a gimmick: "Much of what the Home Secretary has said is an attempt to talk tough without taking effective measures, but she has at least finally admitted, for the first time, that public services are affected by large-scale immigration. It is the Government’s first admission of that. She proposes a Government-run fund, paid for by another tax on new arrivals. But let us consider the numbers. It is reported in the Green Paper that the fund will raise tens of millions of pounds. The original Green Paper—last Friday’s version—referred to £15 million. Will she clarify how many tens of millions will be raised? In any case, the amount will not even be enough to pay the policing costs of immigration, an issue raised by the chief constable of Cambridgeshire only a few months ago. It is barely one tenth of the cost to the national health service of immigration, little more than one twentieth of the costs to local government of immigration and it barely scratches the surface of the full public services cost of immigration. It is, in short, a gimmick."

Britain needs controlled immigration, not new bureaucracy: "The sensible approach is simple: we should deal with the original cause of the problem, put a limit on immigration and bring it down to much more manageable levels. That is simpler, cheaper and better for Britain, and will preserve Britain’s excellent history of good community relations, which is being put at risk by an incompetent and irresponsible immigration policy."

More from Hansard here.

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